By James Kerr

Ottawa, Ontario -- January 31, 2018 -- A new report has been issued by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, 'Driving Change: Technology and the Future of the Automated Vehicle.' Recommendations made by the Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada were taken seriously by the Committee in their report, which aims to identify regulatory and technical issues related to the deployment of automated and connected vehicles.

"This study should serve as a roadmap for the government. It is essential for Canada to be well-prepared for the fast-approaching future of transportation," said Senator David Tkachuk, Chair of the committee.

Last May the Committe heard the recommendations of Jean-François Champagne, President, AIA Canada; and France Daviault, Vice President of AIA Canada, who testified on behalf of the automotive aftermarket industry.

"The aftermarket has to be a part of the conversation on the technical and regulatory issues related to the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles," said Daviault. "There cannot be sweeping changes in the very types of vehicles that Canadians drive without there being accompanying changes in the aftermarket. To put it another way, vehicle manufacturing cannot enter the 22nd century while the aftermarket remains in the 21st century."

Champagne and Daviault expressed concern for the increasing amount of vehicle data being generated by telematics technology and the control of that data by vehicle manufacturers. They advised that the aftermarket industry requires fair access to vehicle data for repair and diagnostic purposes and to ensure fair competition in the market place.

"The question that we have to ask is: Does the CASIS agreement of 2009 meet the needs of today and of the future, or will additional regulatory and legislative actions need to be taken?" asked Champagne.

A full transcript of AIA's presentation to the Committe can be read here.

The report has now been issued by the Standing Senate Committe on Transport and Communications and the influence of AIA Canada's testimony is strong.

“We are on the cusp of a transportation revolution and Canada must be ready," said Senator Dennis Dawson, Deputy Chair of the committee."Cities were ill-prepared when ride sharing came to Canada; we cannot afford to repeat this mistake.”

The report includes a comprehensive section on 'Data Access and Competition' with recommendations for Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada. The idea being to monitor the impact of automated and connected vehicle technology on competition between the various sectors of the automotive and mobility industries. This ensures that sectors such as the aftermarket and car rental companies continue to have access to the data they need to offer their services.

"You can't fix a computer with a wrench," said Daviault. "Autonomous vehicles will be structurally different from the vehicles that currently dominate Canada's roadways."

In addition to advocating for access to vehicle data, AIA Canada also asked the government to invest in the current and future workforce, ensuring that the sector is able and prepared to repair the vehicles of the future. The report outlined recommendations to economic and Social Development Canada to continue to work closely with the provinces and territories in order to strengthen retraining, skills upgrading and employment support for Canadians facing labor market disruption.

"The aftermarket cannot be an afterthought," said Champagne. "Changes in vehicle manufacturing must be accompanied by changes in the aftermarket."

For more information, the full Committe report is available here.


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